China is seeking to shape the world around it in a way that ‘we have not seen before,’ he says.
Australia sees India as “completely central” to its “worldview”, said Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence Richard Marles. Stating that China was seeking to shape the world around it in a way that “we have not seen before”, he said Australia and India had a shared objective to try and protect the global rules-based order.
“For Australia, China is our largest trading partner, That’s the same for India. For Australia, China is our largest security anxiety and so is for India,” Mr. Marles said on Thursday talking to a select group of journalists before concluding his India visit.
Responding to questions on China, he said it was seeking to shape the world around it in a way that “we have not seen before and that has really evolved in the last decade. Especially in the last few years we have seen a more assertive Chinese behaviour with respect to that”“, he said stating it was seen with India along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and in the South China Sea (SCS).
“We have seen that with respect to the LAC and the incident that occurred a couple of years ago where there was appalling behaviour against Indian soldiers and we stand in solidarity with India in respect of that incident,” he said elaborating. “For us we are experiencing that in the South China Sea.”
Elaborating, he said when Australia looked at what happened at the LAC, it was seeing one country seeking to deal with its disputes not against a set of rules but with power and through force. “That’s a concern,” he said.
In the SCS too “we are seeing greater assertiveness on the part of China” he said pointing to the construction of artificial islands and assertion by China on the sovereignty which he said was inconsistent with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). “When we look at Chinese behaviour, be it LAC or SCS, what we are seeing is an assertive behaviour which seeks to challenge the established rules-based order which has been so important to the prosperity of the region,” Mr. Marles remarked.
Stressing that it was really important that “we live in a world with a rules based-order” where disputes were resolved against a set of rules in a peaceful way, Mr. Marles said, “That’s where Australia and India have a shared objective of establishing that global rules-based order.”